…President says CCJ did not issue coercive orders
…ball back in GECOM’s court
By Lisa Hamilton
PRESIDENT David Granger said on Wednesday that now that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled on Guyana’s elections matter, the ball has been placed back into the courts of the Elections Commission which is now expected to continue the process towards a final declaration with consideration to the “massive” electoral fraud uncovered during the elections.
Following the CCJ ruling yesterday, a group of supporters of the APNU+AFC gathered outside of State House and the President came out to speak with them. He said that, as far as the APNU+AFC is concerned, “massive” electoral fraud has been uncovered from the elections and his party will continue to fight to ensure that the valid votes of all eligible electors count.
“[The Caribbean Court of Justice] has made no coercive orders. That means they have not given any instructions to what GECOM is empowered under the laws of Guyana to do. So, we will have to assess the situation in which we are in now. The matter will go back to the Election Commission, but as far as we are concerned, we have evidence that there has been massive fraud and irregularities and we will continue the fight to make sure that your votes are counted,” he told supporters, who were pleased to hear the commitments.
On Wednesday, the CCJ, in assuming jurisdiction to hear an application filed by People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal on the interpretation of the Constitution and invalidated the Elections Report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield. President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders, in handing down the decision, said while decisions made under Article 177 (4) are final as indicated by the Constitution and the Caribbean Court of Justice Act, the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to hear the application filed by Eslyn David.
David’s application, Justice Saunders said, was not based on the qualification of a President or interpretation of the Constitution, but rather the Order No. 60, which triggered the national recount. President Granger told the supporters that while this is the longest the country has ever had to wait for the completion of an election, it is important that not just any results are delivered to the people, but results which have credibility and represent the will of the electorate.
He urged them to be patient for a little while longer and as they await the decision of the commission. The President said: “Our party, our partnership and our coalition are committed to the rule of law. The CCJ has not allowed the position that our Court of Appeal has taken but it means that the matter will now have to go back to the Elections Commission. So, the matter is not closed, it now has to go back to the Election Commission. So, we still have to be patient. I know it’s been a long wait. We all went out on March 2, March passed, April passed, May passed, June passed and now we’re in July. It is the first time this has happened in the history of our country and it has happened because there are some bad elements out there who tried to manipulate the vote by having votes recorded for dead people; people who had migrated; more votes in a polling station than they had electors. We know all of the faults and our party, our partnership and our coalition has been bringing these complaints of abuses and irregularities to the attention of the public and also to the attention of the court.”
Meanwhile, Campaign Co-Chairman of the APNU+AFC, Joseph Harmon, said that now that the CCJ has ruled, it is expected that GECOM will continue with the necessary process, in keeping with the Constitution, which speaks to the requirement of valid votes.
“The end of this matter in the Caribbean Court of Justice, puts the matter back to GECOM for the final decisions to be made in the declaration and swearing in of our President. As we have said all along, our Constitution made provision for the actions taken by the Chief Elections Officer. We expect that GECOM, in its understanding of the court’s ruling, will stand firmly with the Constitution which is our Supreme law,” he stated.
Adding his voice to the matter also was APNU+AFC Executive, Aubrey Norton, who stated: “We believe GECOM must live by the law and, under the law, GECOM is expected to deliver on credible votes…if we focus only on tabulated votes we are going to be in a position where we are perpetuating fraud. We are not disposed to any government that will come into power by fraud and we expect that when the Guyana Elections Commission meets they will honor their own Order and in honoring that Order they will be obligated to ensure that what goes into that report is credible votes.” Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) are scheduled to meet today at 13:30 hours for deliberation on the decisions of the court.